Pace: Parent engagement ignites student success
Ryan Summerlin August 30, 2012
Welcome back to school Summit families! It’s so exciting to have our hallways once again filled with the laughter and energy of students. As a parent, I still vividly remember sending my youngest (now 19) off to kindergarten sporting a big smile and a backpack as big as he was. It’s hard to believe that this year’s kindergarten class is the class of 2025. Whether your student is in kindergarten or a senior or somewhere in between, that feeling of the first day of school is wrought with so many emotions.I had the opportunity to visit each of our nine schools greeting our 3,000 plus students and teachers during the first week. When I asked students in one class whether they were having fun, a boy (unprompted by the teacher), responded, “It’s so much fun I’d rather be in class learning than out at recess!” In each classroom I visited students were involved with learning activities that were both engaging and purposeful. It is Summit School District’s goal to engage every learner every day in meaningful and challenging classroom work that advances each student’s academic growth. Toward this end, we are developing a new strategic plan (available on our website at www.summit.k12.co.us) intended to increase the achievement of all students. While we are developing detailed plans to help each student to thrive, family involvement is essential to each student’s success.I am so appreciative of the wonderful parent involvement we enjoy in Summit School District. The research is clear that parent involvement in their students’ education makes a positive difference in student learning. An article in Education Week (August 4, 2004), states, “When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.” The article goes on to report that, “A synthesis of research on parent involvement over the past decade, finds that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:> Earn higher grades and test scores and enroll in higher-level programs;> Be promoted, pass their classes and earn credits;> Attend school regularly;> Have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school; and> Graduate and go on to postsecondary education. (Henderson & Mapp, 2002)
1. Always participate in parent-teacher conferences;2. Ask your student about the goals he or she has set for this school year and how he or she is progressing toward them;3. Talk with your student about future goals (the next grade level; courses he or she would like to take in the future; college; career interests, etc.);4. Talk about what success in school looks like and concrete steps toward achieving that success;5. Monitor your students’ class work to see how they are performing;6. Ask for info when something is unclear;7. Talk often about how important school is. Even when students don’t respond, they are listening.8. Join your school’s parent-teacher organization;9. Join your school accountability committee;10. Volunteer for school events and activities.Thank you for being a community that is involved in the learning of all students. If you need more information about how to become more involved, please contact your child’s school. (See info box)Summit School District looks forward to partnering with you and your child(ren) to complete a successful 2012-2013 school year.Heidi Pace is superintendent of Summit School District.